During their regular meeting on Sept. 5, Town of Virden Council received a report from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rhonda Stewart regarding delays encountered in the completion of the 2021 municipal financial audit.
Stewart explained that the resignation of the assigned auditor, coupled with municipal and quasi-municipal boards and commissions not submitting their annual financial statements in a timely fashion, has interfered with getting the work done.
“One of the biggest things, and we’re finding this with the 2022 audit as well, is the entities not getting their audit to the municipalities in time so that we can be compliant, so that’s really frustrating as well,” Stewart said.
Stewart said the Town is now playing catch-up and getting a handle on the situation.
“We have a very good person assigned to our file now that has an understanding of municipal accounting,” she said.
Stewart said the Town is on target to have the 2022 audit completed by the end of September. Despite the hangups, the financial picture overall is positive.
“The 2020-2021 net financial assets increased by $4,576,000,” she said.
There was also a year-over-year hike in the accumulated surplus, which included the capital assets minus the liabilities.
“We are in a very good financial position, not only cash-wise but asset-wise compared to our debt. Our long-term debt includes the outstanding borrowing.”
There is $1,083,443 in unspent federal gas tax revenue, which was not used for capital projects in 2021. Stewart reported that those dollars are available for works that meet the gas tax funding agreement criteria. In 2022, some money was used for the replacement of fire hydrants and this year, a portion is budgeted to go towards the changing out of water meters. She noted that the federal government relies on the audit data for the calculation of gas tax funding payments to municipalities.
Council passed a motion approving the 2021 audit, which will be submitted to the Province of Manitoba.
BLACK GOLD SPONSORSHIP
The Town will provide a $500 sponsorship to the second annual Black Gold Classic Jackpot Heifer Show being held Sept. 30 at the Virden Agricultural Society Fairgrounds.
AMM MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL
Council authorized the renewal of the Town’s membership in the Association of Manitoba Municipalities for the period Sept. 1, 2023 to Aug.31, 2024 at a cost of $3,750 plus GST.
STOREFRONT IMPROVEMENT GRANTS
Council approval was granted to storefront improvement grant applications, on the condition that all required building permits and agreements are obtained prior to the work proceeding. They include: Fitness Resolution, 251 Nelson St. W. ($2,091.78); Malcolm & Judy Scott, 585 Seventh Ave. S. ($5,000); Neil Murray (Scott Block), 236 Nelson St. W. ($1,750); Royal Le Page Martin-Liberty Realty, 429 Seventh Ave. S. ($4,150) and Safety Source, 227 Third Ave. S. ($3,329)
The Murray application was approved on the condition that concrete benches be installed, with the increased cost being subject to additional approved funding.
Council accepted a report of taxes added and deleted as provided by Chief Financial Officer Anna Maksymchuk.
NEW INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER
Council accepted a proposal from 3C Tech Ltd. of Virden for the provision of information technology services. Administration was authorized to enter into a service agreement and negotiate specific details in accordance with the Town’s requirements. During discussion on the matter, Coun. Travis Penner suggested that the company be requested to periodically check the status of the Town’s data backups and report back.
LPS SERVICE TENDERED
A bid from Castle Oilfield Construction of Virden, in the amount of $398,730 plus an extra work allowance, for phase 1 of the low-pressure sewer service extension project in the industrial park was accepted.